Confessions....I Wish!

Add caption www.greenleft.org.au
This is a photograph of Nina Simone, an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Look at the expression on her face.

Her downcast eyes, the tilt of her head propped up by her resilient fingers, and her paltry lips  show a woman in contemplative thought.

I know weight.
I know contemplation.
I know this expression.






One of my favourite songs by Nina Simone is titled 'I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free'. The first and second verses express a desire to be free from 'all the chains holding me' and to 'remove all the bars that keep us apart'. The third verse, my favorite, longs to 'live like I'm longin to live'... The last verse describes a wish to 'soar, to the sun and look down at the sea'!

Read the lyrics below. Read them slowly...


"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free"

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free,
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me.
I wish I could say
All the things that I should say,
Say 'em loud say 'em clear
For the whole wide world to hear.

I wish I could share
All the love that's in my heart,
Remove all the bars
That keep us apart.
I wish you could know
What it means to be me,
Then you'd see and agree
That every man should be free.

I wish I could give
All I'm longin' to give,
I wish I could live
Like I'm longin' to live.
I wish I could do
All the things that I can do,
Though I'm way overdue

I'd be starting anew.

I wish I could be like a bird in the sky,
How sweet it would be
If I found out I could fly.
I'd soar to the sun
And look down at the sea
And I sing 'cause I know.
Yea I sing cause I know
Though I'm way overdue
I'd be starting anew.

At 42 years of age, I have been married for seven years, I am the mother of two children and have been employed in the same career for twenty years; confining chains, buried desires and dreaming of another life I want to live are all too familiar. 

During my separation in my first marriage, my ex-husband confessed how many strides he'd made in his career now that he no longer had to be concerned with a wife. His words were hurtful back then, those words are meaningful today.

In 2002 my ex-husband was free to pursue the life he wanted. He was free to work long hours, free to travel at will, free to eat or drink without having to regard a wife nor children. He did not enter a house in anticipation of his wife's mood, he did not leave a 'fun' event because it was getting close to the wee hours of the morning. He lived! He was free!

I get it!

His appreciation for freedom wasn't about getting away from me but it was discovering more of him. He had goals for his life. On his morning drive to work he saw a better him unfortunately, at that time I was not as ambitious. I was settled. Imagine being married to lil ole twenty-five year old me who was happy with two boiled eggs for breakfast wheras he wanted eggs served with crispy prosciutto along with a jumbo lump crab hash! 

To eat a fancy breakfast requires work, work outside of the home, work away from his wife. After working so hard to achieve a fancy breakfast he wanted to play in order to establish balance in his life. Me, I wanted to stay home and eat boiled eggs. I wasn't in pursuit of a dream, so I didn't work as hard and so I did not need to play as hard!

My marriage ended!

Let Nina Simone tell it, Nate wanted to soar to the sun and look down at the sea. No wife needed....

At 42, my taste buds love boiled eggs (I always will) but my palate is ready for prosciutto! What is wrong with me? I love my husband, I do (my eyes tear up as I type). It was only a few years ago I cried because I wanted to be married so badly. Being with Eric was my end all be all, he was my boiled egg yet now the routine of marriage feels like a chain around one of my ankles. I love Eric but how do I love and soar while maintaining the responsibilities and expectations of marriage? How do iron, clean, fold clothes and pursue a dream?

I love my children. The joy of seeing a positive pregnancy test twice was priceless. Two memories I can relive at the drop of a hat. The day they were born healthy sigh...no words. We did it. God has blessed us with a family yet the responsibility and mundane schedules of parenthood  is a chain around my waist. I love my children but how does Tiffany find out if she can fly while doing school pick up?

I am employed but my career is a tightening chain gripping my neck. For as long as I have known myself I wanted to be a teacher. My students know I care. I am that cool teacher, mentor, friend...the one who you can talk to about anything. Yet my classroom has become a safe prison cell. How can I remove the bars and eave this job with bills to pay in pursuit of Tiffany's purpose?

And so I sing Nina Simone's song from the depth of my soul. It encapsulates my emotions succinctly.

Can I just be free?

But hey wait a minute is this an accurate question?

I love my husband. I have no intention of leaving my marriage. I fought to be married, again.

But wait, I love my children. I can't imagine my life without them. I want to parent my children. I don't take that responsibility lightly.

Sooooooo is freedom from my family what I'm seeking? Do I want to run away? (Don't ask me this question between the hours of 7-9pm)

But seriously...no. I don't want to leave. I have no intention of leaving. I am not seeking freedom from individuals. What am I seeking? Hmmm! 

I want freedom to be me, not wife, not mother, not teacher but Tiffany! 

Dónde estás Tiffany?
Où êtes-vous Tiffany?
Wo sind Sie Tiffany?
Where are you Tiffany?

Here I am!
I am alive!
I am me!
Look at this woman, the world needs more of her! Unknowingly, the world orbits patiently for her release....

BUT HOW? How can I be her as well as a mother, wife and teacher?

I have no *&^%^& clue!!!!!

Where are the women from the older generation? I can't be the first woman to experience such emotions. If only I could talk to Nina Simone? What was her inspiration for this song? Did she write these lyrics? If so did how did she navigate life? Are there regrets, lessons learned if she could live life all over again?

Where are the older women in our community? What did they do? Smt!!! Would an older woman talk about a subject like this? Did they allow themselves to be this vulnerable? Did they acknowledge a desire to be more than a mother, more than a wife? I wonder!

They'd probably read my confessions and say stop whining? Get over it? You have life good! Hell someone reading this my own age is thinking, please Tiffany, no one is interested in your pity party! 

That's part of my problem. Who do I talk to about the stages of my life? Who is willing to admit yes, I had or I'm having many days where my husband and children are not my dream? Who can take off the make-up, the designer bag and shoes and whisper, "I am growing right in front of my eyes at a frightening speed?"

Who will sing this verse along with me?

Verse Three

I wish I could give
All I'm longin' to give,
I wish I could live
Like I'm longin' to live.
I wish I could do
All the things that I can do,
Though I'm way overdue

I'd be starting anew.

Anyone?

courtesy of ink361.com


Here is another image of Nina. She appears to be getting dressed to embark upon her day, an event, a performance who knows but I see a woman mustering fortitude. Because why? A girl gotta do what a girl gotta do?


And so I am not leaving my husband to abandon my marriage as my first husband abandoned me. I will not abandon my children for their father to raise them alone. I will continue to love all three of them in every way I can. But I guarantee I will love Tiffany too. 

Verse Four

I wish I could be like a bird in the sky,
How sweet it would be
If I found out I could fly.
I'd soar to the sun
And look down at the sea
And I sing 'cause I know.

Yea I sing cause I know
Though I'm way overdue
I'd be starting anew.

I truly believe I can fly! I will soar at least for one afternoon before I die! 

This will be my legacy for my daughter to remember. One day when she is older whether she decides to be married and have children and she is wiping the tears from her eyes because she is tired and frustrated or if she is a single woman leaving the office after a long day at work she will always strive to pursue her goals and dreams because I want her to remember me, to use these words to describe me. "My mother was a great mother to me yet she found a way to be an extraordinary woman!


"dont't die with your song still inside of you."

Click on the link below to view one of her performances of the song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sEP0-8VAow



Keeping myself together until I blog again,
Tiffany








4 comments:

Bridgette Mackey said...

Tiffany as I read your post I relate to every word of it. Society has told us that as women we should only aspire to having our families and finding a job that we can stay on for an eternity. You are not alone! Many of us try to heed the call of finding our 'other' selves. Keep pressing, keep knocking, keep searching. Know that those proverbial chains are the doorway to the new you. Each new life is birthed through pain. As you come into your new self the process will not be easy. In labour we cry out wondering when the agony will end. It's the dawn of a new day. You're in labor now but your baby will be here soon!

Stay encouraged my sister!

JoAnna Roberts said...

In response to your question.....where are the older women in the community. We are right here in your family, your church family and the neighbourhood. Yes, we are still part of the village that it took to raise children ....children that grew up, became more educated and maybe believes that we are not sophisticated enough to talk too.

Yes, we had dreams, we experienced fears and did not want all that came with being a wife, mother and part of the workforce. I can confess that I did, but because I wanted my children to have a happy childhood, and not take on adult problems, my anxiety was not discussed with them. Being a divorcee and not having extended family support, where did I turn....to older women that was part of the village, as they had also experienced the same challenges and dreams that I was trying to sort out. I can still recall the words of two older women that I spoke to before I made the final decision to divorce. Smiles still come to my face when I reminisce on some of the recommendations after childbirth from the older ladies.

Instead of assuming what an older woman would say, may I suggest to those who have a relationship with parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, Godparents or an older friend, talk to them. You may not agree with everything, but just one sentence may help. In addition, you may actually learn something from the past, i.e., most of you may have to tell your children how the television channel was changed before the almighty remote. For those of you who do not have a relationship with your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, Godparents or an older friend, you do not know what you are missing.....maybe you can feed off your friends. I am 67 and I am still relying on the older women in the community, ages 90, 91 and 87 to help me through my disappointments and hurts.

God granted long life to the older women in the community, to be your angel, to lift you up when you are falling. If this generation do not want to seek out the older women.......maybe a younger village need to be formed.

MWMs said...

Bridgette,
Thank you for your comment.

I love your statement...those proverbial chains are the doorway to the new you. Priceless!
Tiffany

MWMs said...

Joanna,
Thank you for your comment.

This article has done exactly as it was intended, to start a conversation amongst women.

Your sentence ..I confess that I did, but because I wanted my children to have a happy childhood, and not take on adult problems, my anxiety was not discussed with them' that statement shows your disconnect. Hopefully when your children got older you exposed the gentler more vulnerable side of you.

Please know I agree wholeheartedly that the women are there, but are they really talking with us or talking to us younger generation? Are they truly sharing their lives, their stories, their heartbreaks, their pain and their joys about being a woman making themselves a soft place to fall? Surely when they do we younger women would feel safe enough to open up, safe enough to ask a question, to build a deeper relationship with our mothers, aunts, cousins and godparents.

It is evident this article inspired you to open up and share. Based on your words, it is my hope this is not the first time. I commend you for being an example of an older woman who is willing to take off the hard exterior and share with so many of us younger women who are only trying to navigate this life as you once did.

Tiffany

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